Stayin’ Alive

October 23, 2008

Did you know that the Bee Gees’ 1977 hit ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is an ideal beat to follow to perform chest compressions on a victim of a cardiac arrest? A research study in the US has found that the fast beat of the song motivated people to keep up the rate of chest compressions needed to make cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) effective. CPR can triple cardiac arrest survival when performed properly.

An author of the study said many people were put off performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as they were not sure about keeping the correct rhythm. The song ‘Stayin’ Alive’ contains 103 beats per minute, close to the recommended rate of 100 chest compressions per minute.

The study by the University of Illinois College of Medicine saw 15 doctors and students performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on mannequins while listening to ‘Stayin’ Alive’. They were asked to time their chest compressions with the beat.

Five weeks later, they did the same drill without the music but were told to think of the song while doing compressions.

The average number of compressions the first time was 109 per minute; the second time it was 113 – more than recommended by the American Heart Association, but better than too few, according to Dr Matlock.

“It drove them and motivated them to keep up the rate, which is the most important thing,” he told the Associated Press.

A spokesman for the American Heart Association, Dr Vinay Nadkarni, said it had been using ‘Stayin’ Alive’ as a training tip for CPR instructors for about two years, although it was not aware of any previous studies that tested the song.

With thanks to BBC News (and Grannymar) for bringing this report to my attention.

Those Bee Gees in their tight jeans were enough to get my heart beating fast. I feel a touch of Night Fever coming on now!